Translations is a tender film, mostly a two-hander, between agoraphobic translator Stef (played by Kate Morgan-Jones) and Evan (played by Alan Emrys), best friend of her late brother Liam. It’s been years since Stef has left her house: unable to move on from Liam’s death, trapped in her grief. When budding photographer Evan shows up out of the blue, after being away for years travelling the world, it throws her cloistered life into disarray.
Director Keith Wilhelm Kopp, a former combat veteran who moved to Wales a decade ago, is at the helm of this intimate drama. Kopp’s own struggles with PTSD are funnelled into the film – Stef tries to escape her predicament but finds paths to overcoming trauma blocked until she is compelled to face her issues whilst translating a story of lost love. Afraid of leaving her sanctuary, Stef and Evan share stories of their own communal past; romance blossoms, but can Stef escape this self-constructed prison, and can their relationship be sustained? The trauma that unites them could also undo them.
A chamber piece written by Laurence Guy, longlisted for the Bruntwood Prize in 2022, Translations is peppered with surreal moments and smatterings of mystical Welsh, and filmed in black and white by Mark James. There’s a strong central duo of performances, making the most of Guy’s literate, verbose script as the intensely observed, exploratory relationship drama unfurls, words and images from the past giving meaning to the present. This is an arthouse relationship drama that resonates.
Dir: Keith Wilhelm Kopp (15, 85 mins)
Translations is screening in Brynamman Public Hall Cinema, Ammanford, Fri 2 June; Ulchedre Centre, Holyhead, Fri 9, Sun 11 + Wed 14 June; London Welsh Centre, Thurs 15 June; Y Ffwrnes, Llanelli, Tue 20 June
words KEIRON SELF
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